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6 Exercises That Help You Nail a Perfect Crow Pose

  • Squeeze Squat

    Begin in a standing forward fold with your hands in front of you on the ground. Heel-toe your feet wide apart, pointing your toes out so that your hips are open. Bend your knees, releasing your hips toward the ground, hovering above at whatever height feels good for you. Keep your knees in line with your ankles. Take your elbows inside of your thighs, lightly pressing them out, and take hands together like a prayer at the center of chest. Keep your spine long. Now, start to squeeze your thighs into your arms as tightly as you can without moving your arms. This is the same squeezing action required for the open-hip variation of crow pose as well as "baby crow." Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

  • One-Legged Plank Pose

    From plank pose, lift your right foot about a foot or so off the ground so that your right leg is in line with your spine. Stay here for 5 deep breaths, and then repeat on the left side.

  • Baby Crow

    Begin in a squat with your feet together, knees apart. Take your forearms to the ground, parallel to one another, elbows shoulder's distance apart. Then, squeeze your thighs into your upper arms, lean forward, and lift your feet off the ground. Stay here for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

  • Hip-Opening Variation of Crow Pose

    Start in a squat. Plant your palms shoulder-width apart on the mat, lining your wrist creases up with the front edge of the mat. Press into your fingertips, look slightly forward, and move your inner thighs to the outer upper arms. Use your thighs to squeeze arms toward one another. Bend your elbows softly, keeping them in line with shoulders, not winging out, and one at a time lift your feet off the ground, reaching the heels toward your butt. Keep gaze slightly forward and start to lengthen your arms. Breathe here for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

  • Block Assist

    Getting into the full version of crow pose can be intimidating. So for the first few tries, it's helpful to use props—either a yoga strap around your upper arms to keep them in line, or a block to stand on (pictured) to give yourself the height required to get your knees into your armpits. You can also choose to use both at the same time. Play with leaning your weight into your armpits from the blocks and/or with the strap. If you want to give yourself another prop, you can also put a cushion in front of your face to ease the fear of falling.

  • Crow Pose

    Begin in a forward fold. Plant your palms shoulder-distance apart on the mat, line your wrist creases up with the front edge of the mat. Press into your fingertips, look slightly forward, and take your knees into the back of your upper arms, aiming for your armpits (though your knees will most likely slide down). Bend your elbows softly, keeping them in line with your shoulders, not winging out. Then, one at a time, lift your feet off the ground, reaching your heels toward your butt. Keep your gaze slightly forward and start to lengthen your arms. Breathe here for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

 

Heidi Kristoffer

Heidi Kristoffer is the creator and producer of Microsoft Bing Fitness Yoga & MSN Yoga, creator of CrossFlowX, wellness expert for multiple online platforms, and mama to baby twin girls.  More →

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